This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only.

Hungarian and US scientists win medicine Nobel for COVID-19 vaccine work

Date:

Share post:

Scientists Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman from Hungary and the United States respectively won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries enabling the development of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, the award-giving body said on Monday.

The prize, among the most prestigious in the scientific world, is selected by the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute medical university and also comes with 11 million Swedish crowns (about £823,500).

“The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19,” the body said.

Kariko was senior vice president and head of RNA protein replacement at BioNTech until 2022 and has since acted as an adviser to the company. She is also a professor at the University of Szeged in Hungary and adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Weissman is professor in vaccine research at the Perelman School.

Kariko found a way to prevent the immune system from launching an inflammatory reaction against lab-made mRNA, previously seen as a major hurdle against any therapeutic use of mRNA.

Together with Weissman, she showed in 2005 that adjustments to nucleosides, the molecular letters that write the mRNA’s genetic code, can keep the mRNA under the immune system’s radar.

“So this year’s Nobel Prize recognizes their basic science discovery that fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with the immune system and had a major impact on society during the recent pandemic,” said Rickard Sandberg, member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute.

Last year’s medicine prize went to Swede Svante Paabo for sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans, and for discovering a previously unknown human relative, the Denisovans.

Other past winners include Alexander Fleming, who shared the 1945 prize for the discovery of penicillin, and Karl Landsteiner in 1930 for his discovery of human blood groups.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Current Issue June 2024

Related articles

Loneliness epidemic: Over half of Europeans ‘often or occasionally’ feel lonely

Younger Europeans are more prone to feelings of loneliness, largely due to their extensive screen time Despite being more...

NHS England elective care waiting list hits 7.6 million amid election campaigns

NHS waiting list reduction efforts show limited impact despite government pledges The elective care waiting list for NHS England...

Satisfaction with UK’s healthcare system drops significantly: STADA Health Report 2024

Difficulties to book appointments, poor standards of care and distrust in policy-makers are major drivers for dissatisfaction in...

NHS to commission pharmacies for nationwide RSV vaccination initiative

NHS to roll out RSV vaccination programme in England in September following the guidance from JCVI In a collaborative...